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The greatest place on earth!!! For me anyway!
Natural History Museum (London)
Member Name: Mummy_to_2
Natural History Museum (London)
Advantages: educational, free, family friendly, shops are cheap
Disadvantages: can be super busy at peak times
***This review is based on the museum AND the 'Age of the Dinosaurs' special exhibition.***
I have always visited the museum when I have been in London as it has become my favourite place in the world, it must have one the most famous facades in the world!
This time though it was for my son as I had bought tickets for the 'Age of the Dinosaurs' exhibit, it had cost £30.30 (with donation) for two adults and 1 child (my 8 y/o sister).
The museum is on Cromwell Road, Kensington and has two tube stations within walking distance (south Kensington and Gloucester rd) and is also on major bus routes so getting there is quite easy, we were coming in to London from St Albans, so got a train directly to Farringdon and then onto the circle tube line, although with it being extremely hot and with 3 children it wasn't as easy as I thought!
The museum itself is free (unless viewing special events) although you are asked to make a donation, and is open 364 days a year 10AM until 5:50PM. Upon going in your bags are also checked by members of staff.
As our tickets were pre booked we were able to be fast tracked which was brilliant as because it was August and it is the summer holidays the place was heaving and the queue's were out of the gates. The museum does get VERY busy so its best to go out of season which we tend to do.
Upon entering you a faced with a huge diplodocus this is quite possibly the most famous part of the museum and was in the film 'One of out Dinosaurs is missing'!! In the entrance hall you can also buy maps(£1), guide books(£5) and tickets etc, it also has the entrances to the shops and the 4 café's and some of the exhibits. The walls are covered in 'artefacts' and are a real thumbs up with the children. One thing I must say is that the architecture is AMAZING!!!!!
The museum is set out over 3 floors each jammed with artefacts, it would take well over a day to see it all!!. These are split into 4 groups the 'orange', 'blue' 'green' and 'red' zones, each of these containing different types of things for example the 'blue zone' contains so of the most popular exhibits such as the dinosaurs, mammals and the 'blue whale'. While the 'green zone' contains the bugs, primates and 'the tree'.
The website has descriptions of each zone as follows.......
'Discover the wonders of our planet with volcanoes, earthquakes and our giant Earth model.'
'Investigate Earth's ecology. Meet a dodo. Explore the magnificent Central Hall including Charles Darwin's statue and our new ceiling installation TREE. Learn about the meteorites that shaped this planet.'
'Experience the age of dinosaurs. Discover a world of massive mammals including the blue whale, and learn about the human body.'
'Explore the new Darwin Centre including the cocoon and Attenborough Studio. And don't miss our Wildlife Garden highlights.'
There are also learning rooms, theatre's and also faith rooms on site, there are also picnic spots dotted around the inside of the museum as well as the lawn's outside which in winter become skating rinks (great fun but expensive). There are also 3 shop's the main museum shop, the Dino shop and the Earth shop. Unlike the usual tourist aimed shop's I find the museum shop's very good money for value and a lot of things there are available to buy with 'pocket money', although I ended up spending the best part of £30!
Overall I find the museum brilliant and cannot recommend it enough!! It's great for children and adults alike, it's great value for money, and most importantly for me it is very educationally based so children are learning as they are having fun!!!
*** AGE OF THE DINOSAURS EXHIBIT***
As we were fast track ticket holders we made our way straight to the exhibit as the tickets were on a time schedule, thus avoiding all the queues.
The exhibition is running from the 22nd of April through to the 4th of September.
-Child and concession £6
These prices contain the donation , the exhibition is free to Members, Patrons and children aged 3 and under.
The website describes the exhibition as......
'Walk through a swamp-like Jurassic forest and Cretaceous desert, catching sight of weird, wonderful and now extinct animals and plants among the smells and sounds of this prehistoric land. Amazing life-size, animatronic dinosaurs including a Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor, and Tarbosaurus will emerge from the rocks, water and trees. Other animatronic surprises await you too.
Along the way, investigate precious fossils, handle specimen replicas and examine evidence to find out what the world looked like when dinosaurs walked on Earth.
Jaw-dropping images and film footage, with fantastic interactive challenges create an exciting, immersive experience like never before at the Museum.
This exhibition is for children and adults of all ages.'
You are first taken into a room with a huge interactive wall showing a timeline from the dinosaur age through to today, and also artefacts including a gigantic T-Rex footprint and the skull of another dinosaur. Walking through a walkway you are surrounded by fossil's and interactive play stations (these are suited to all ages) my son particularly enjoyed the one where you had to mix and match Dino parts. Going on you are then confronted with a huge dinosaur leg (from the hip bone) this is a great photo opportunity and my son just couldn't apprehend the size of it.
Then come's the exciting bit...... the 'real' dinosaurs!!
These each have their own area depicting a scene, the first is a huge (really!) Diplodocus munching on ferns which turns and looks and you! My 8 year old sister hated it until my 4 year old told her they were 'only plastic and paper duh!', even the birds are animatronic next through to a stegosaurus fighting with a velocraptor and another set of dinosaurs and then come's the penultimate moment the T-rex which is attacking a nest of eggs, (my son was more interested in the eggs then the dino) all the while there are sounds of the rainforest, dinosaurs and birds being played.
Coming out of that walk through you are taken through more fossil's including a tortoise shell and more interactive computers and games, I found these really good and the children found out lots of interesting little known facts about Dinosaurs such as about their poo(!) and also their habits. Meanwhile all the walls are covered in either murals or fossils.
The end of the exhibit leads onto the shop, which is of no great surprise.
I was quite disappointed at the end as because it was so busy with people pushing etc and having a 2 year old in a buggy we did feel very rushed and ended up completing the whole thing in around 10 mins which I found awful value for money although it was not the museums fault. I do believe they should have had a sort of 1 OUT 1 In system.
Based on this visit to the museum I have no other choice but to award it 5 stars, I think that although we were rushed etc it was a great exhibition and very child friendly! To me the museum is a no brainer its defiantly a 5 star, It is family friendly, educational and free! The shop's are purse friendly, and the building is just amazing.
Summary: an AMAZING day out
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